Booking Terms and Conditions

The following terms and conditions set out the basis of your contract with Hawthorn Farm Cottages, Hawthorn Farm, Corner Drove, Ware, Ash, Canterbury CT3 2LU.

Your booking

If you book directly with Hawthorn Farm Cottages, you will not be charged a separate booking fee. Prices include heating, water and electricity (subject to fair use), use of bed linen and towels, and shared use of the field behind the cottages.

All bookings and offers of bookings are subject to availability and confirmation. When you submit a booking through the Hawthorn Farm Cottages website, you will be sent an automatic acknowledgement/summary of your booking to the email address you provide on the booking form. Please check all the details carefully and let us know immediately if there are any errors.

The booking acknowledgement email does not in itself form your contract with Hawthorn Farm Cottages. A contract is only made when your booking is confirmed in writing - either by post or by email.

Hawthorn Farm Cottages has the right to refuse or to cancel any booking, for whatever reason, within 24 hours of the booking being received. You will also have a 24 hour "cooling off period" starting from the time the booking is received.

The lead guest must be over 21 years of age at the time of booking. In the interests of any other guests at Hawthorn Farm, we are unable to take online bookings from student groups, hen or stag parties unless by prior arrangement.

You must not exceed the occupancy for the cottage/s you have booked without written agreement from us. Hawthorn Farm Cottages must be made aware of any changes to the number of guests, ages of children under 16, or number of pet guests prior to the start of your holiday.

Non-availability

If for any reason your chosen cottage becomes unavailable on the dates you have booked (such as the cottage being unsuitable for letting) then all rent and charges paid in advance by you will be refunded in full. In the unlikely event of non-availability, you shall have no further claim against Hawthorn Farm Cottages.

Pets

Any requests for bringing pets with you to Hawthorn Farm must be made at the time of booking. Please bring all your own pet bedding and towels as required. No other visiting pets may be taken into the property unless they have been booked-in with us and confirmed in writing to you.

As some of our guests are non-pet owners or have allergies, pets are only permitted at Hawthorn Farm Cottages with our prior consent and confirmed in writing to you. Friendly dogs (with well trained owners) are welcome to stay at Hawthorn Farm Cottages on the proviso that they are kept under control (on a lead when in the Farm grounds) and that you immediately clear up after them. We have a dedicated dog waste bin, but you'll need to bring your own supply of disposal bags.

Pets are not permitted on any furniture, and we cannot accept responsibility for their safety. You are requested not to leave pets unsupervised at any time - especially inside the cottage, as this can result in considerable damage to the property - not to mention distress to the pet!

Registered guide dogs are allowed in all the cottages at Hawthorn Farm, but you will need to inform us at the time of booking if you are bringing a guide dog with you.

Guests with allergies should be aware that we have two cottages that are not  "pet friendly" but this does not guarantee that there have never been pets in those properties in the past. We do however thoroughly clean and air all the cottages between stays, particularly whenever we've had a pet visitor.

Special needs

If you have any special needs, such as reduced mobility, please let us know at the time of booking so we can advise you on the suitability of our cottages - and where possible, to make arrangements for any special equipment/facilities you may need prior to your stay. Where additional equipment hire costs are incurred, we will let you know what these will be, before committing you to anything.

Payment

If you make your booking more than 8 weeks before your holiday start date, then a deposit of 30% of the rent must be paid in order to secure your booking. Once you've received your written booking confirmation, you will be liable for the full rent (or balance) plus additional charges for any extras eight weeks before the start of your holiday. 

If you are paying by credit/debit card, then the balance will be automatically deducted from the card 8 weeks prior to the holiday start date. If you are paying by any other means, you will need to make sure you pay the balance by the balance due by date. Although your booking confirmation will tell you the balance due by date, we cannot guarantee to send you a reminder. If we do not receive full payment by this date, and we do not hear from you, then we will have to treat it as a cancellation and you will be charged as per the table below.

Payment can be made by sterling cheque, credit card, debit card, bank transfer or by PayPal. We will make a charge of 1.9% for payments made by PayPal to cover PayPal's charges to us. Please visit the PayPal website for their own Terms and Conditions and Privacy Statement. If you have any issues regarding PayPal payments, please contact them directly.

Please note we are unable to accept payment by American Express. Post dated cheques cannot be accepted. Any charges raised against us by your bank for handling dishonoured cheques, bank transfers or any other payments will be passed on to you and you will be liable to reimburse us in respect of such charges within 7 days. We regret that any charges incurred in handling payments from overseas will be passed on to you.

If any payment made to us is not honoured, a £20 administration charge will be levied. In the event of a booking not being accepted by us, all fees paid will be refunded.

Security deposit

A security deposit of £250 per cottage is required before the start of your holiday.

In most cases, we will take a 7 day pre-authorisation on your credit/debit card. This pre-authorisation is not a charge, and no funds will be debited from your account except in the event of breakages, damages or the requirement for exceptional cleaning of the cottage at the end of your stay. Minor breakages and reasonable wear and tear will not be charged for.

If you're unable to provide card details for a pre-authorisation, then we will need the full amount of the security deposit to be paid to us by bank transfer, cheque or PayPal to be cleared into our bank account before your arrival.

For any stays at Hawthorn Farm Cottages for 8 days or longer, the security deposit will be deducted from the card, or payment will need to be made by bank transfer, cheque or PayPal on or before arrival. For any stays at Hawthorn Farm Cottages for 8 days or longer, the security deposit will be deducted from the card, or payment will need to be made by bank transfer, cheque or PayPal with your final balance payment. The security deposit will be refunded without interest within 7 days of the end of your stay, less any necessary deductions.

Any charges incurred in refunding deposits to overseas accounts will be passed on to you.

Cancellations and changes to your booking

If you need to cancel your holiday, the lead guest must notify us immediately by telephone, and also in writing. The amount you are liable for depends on when you cancel:

More than 8 weeks before your holiday start date: 30%

Less than 8 weeks before your holiday start date: 100%

Less than 24 hours after you make your booking: 0%

If you don't pay the amount due by the due date, and we do not hear from you, we will assume you wish to cancel the booking. In the event of a cancellation, we will be entitled to keep all of the deposit you have paid and to re-market the cottage.

If we do not cancel straight away because you have promised to make payment, you will be liable for cancellation charges of the total rental as per the table provided, depending on the date Hawthorn Farm Cottages treats your booking as cancelled. We strongly advise you to take out holiday cancellation insurance to avoid losing your monies if you do have to cancel your holiday for any reason.

Any agreed amendments or changes to the booking prior to 8 weeks of arrival (dates or number of guests) will be subject to an administration charge of £50.

If you decide to cut your holiday short for any reason, we will not be able to refund any of the rental fee.

Cottage details

Please be assured that we make every effort to make sure that the information provided is presented accurately on the Hawthorn Farm Cottages website, on other third party websites, and in any other promotional material we may use. However, we reserve the right to change/modify the layout and facilities where we feel that this would enhance our cottages. Sometimes changes to services or facilities at our cottages may occur after bookings have been made. If this is the case, we will endeavour to let you know as soon as possible if the changes are likely to materially affect your holiday experience. Unfortunately we cannot accept responsibility for any inaccurate or misleading information given regarding the holiday cottages or facilities. Errors do occasionally occur, so you must check all the details and arrangements with us at the time of booking.

Internet services

Although we have made every effort to provide our guests with a high quality Internet connection, because our rural location occasionally affects the availability/quality of service, we cannot accept responsibility or liability for any consequential losses or inconvenience caused by poor Internet reception.

Your stay

You are welcome to arrive at Hawthorn Farm any time from 4pm at the start of your holiday. If you know you will be arriving after 8pm, please let us know so that arrangements can be made for you to collect your key. At the end of your holiday you should depart by 10am, although during the quieter months, we can sometimes be more flexible about timings. Please be aware that any changes to your checkout needs to be negotiated and agreed by us before the start of your holiday. There will be a small charge of £15 (payable in advance) for check-ins or check-outs requested of 1-2 hours earlier or later than 4pm/10am respectively.

If you have not arrived by 12 noon of the day following your intended arrival, and we haven't heard from you, then we will treat your booking as a cancellation.

If you would like to make the most of your time at Hawthorn Farm and extend your stay until 6pm on your day of your departure, then we may be able to arrange it, depending on the timing of the next booking. There is a flat fee of £25 per cottage for extended stays, but we can only confirm it a couple of days before you leave. Unless you receive notification from us in writing and you have made a payment for a late departure, you should assume that the usual check-out time applies.

Enough bed linen and towels are provided according to the number of people in your party/booking. Cottage towels are not to be removed from the property. Bed linen is changed between visitors, but will be changed weekly during stays of 14 days or more unless otherwise agreed.

We are entitled not to let you into the property if we feel for any reason that you or any member of your party are likely to cause damage to it. If this were to be the case, we are under no obligation to find alternative accommodation for you or your party.

You may not allow anyone to stay in the cottage who has not been included in the booking form. Nor are you entitled to change the composition of the party radically without notifying us in advance. If you breach any of these rules, we are entitled to refuse you entry, in which case the booking will be treated as cancelled, with no refund due, and no liability on us to provide you with alternative accommodation.

The property

Our aim is for you to have an enjoyable time whilst on your holiday at Hawthorn Farm, however we would also ask you to respect the holiday cottage and your neighbours, and not disturb or cause offence in any way.

Whilst you are staying in the cottage it is your responsibility to keep the property clean and tidy and to leave it in this condition at the end of your holiday. It is also your responsibility to take care of the cottage in such a way as to minimise unnecessary damage to the building or contents. For example, condensation can be caused if you do not allow adequate ventilation whilst cooking or showering. This can very quickly lead to mould on windows, walls and soft furnishings, which can be expensive to put right.

If you intend to bring and use any electrical equipment in the cottage (except for hairdryers, laptops etc) then you will need our express permission beforehand. We reserve the right to make a charge for the use of any electrical items that consume large amounts of electricity.

You must allow us, or our employees access to the cottage during reasonable hours, except where an emergency problem needs to be remedied immediately. If you are out of contact at the time of an emergency problem, then we or our employees may enter the cottage without your prior agreement.

The property cannot be used for any commercial purposes, nor sublet or assigned to anyone not accepted by us as a party member.

Access and parking

We have enough car parking space for one car per cottage, however if you have a large vehicle or if you are planning to come in two or more cars, then you will need to let us know in advance. During our busy season, you may need to park a larger vehicle or a second car on a firm but "off road" area, rather on our gravelled parking area. Access to Hawthorn Farm is via Corner Drove, which is a farm track. Although we aim to keep it in a state of good repair, it may be unsuitable for low slung vehicles particularly in extreme weather conditions. If you have particular questions regarding this, or want to double check the driving conditions before you arrive, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Entertainment

All the cottages have terrestrial televisions, which we are planning to upgrade to Smart TVs with Freeview in due course. If you'd like to know which channels are available to watch, please let us know. We also have a small DVD library that you're welcome to use, and we have provided a radio/CD or MP3 player in each cottage. 

We're in the countryside!

1. Because Hawthorn Farm is in a rural location, the quality of mobile phone coverage can vary depending on your provider. If you are on the Vodafone network, or if you are on a roaming package, then you should get a good 3G signal. If you are able to make telephone calls via an internet connection, then our free WiFi should be fast enough. If this is important to you please ask at the time of booking.

2. Non-mains drainage - please help us to conserve water and protect our sensitive sewage systems by being mindful of the number of baths/showers you have, and by not flushing anything down the drains other than water, human waste and mild detergents. All food waste, including cooking fats should be put in the food recycling caddy. Sanitary products/nappies and even “flushable” wipes should be sealed in a bag and placed in the general waste bin.

3. All creatures great and small – depending on the time of year, we can sometimes get critters coming into the cottages. Please let us know if you are visited by ants, wasps or bees, or if you see or hear any field mice, as we can quickly deal with them for you. We prefer you don’t feed the local wildlife while you’re here, even the birds - as this can attract rodents.

Liability

The use of the facilities at Hawthorn Farm are entirely at the visitors own risk. However, we will take every precaution to ensure that all facilities are maintained to advised safety standards. The owners shall not be liable to the client for any temporary defect to any equipment, garden or other appliances or for any loss which is the result of matters outside of the owners' control.

Hawthorn Farm Cottages shall have no liability for any death or personal injury unless it results from the negligence of Hawthorn Farm Cottages owners or employees. (Providing they were at the time acting in the course of their employment.) In addition, the owners accept no responsibility for the safety of, or the loss or damage to the guests’ possessions whilst in the cottages or Hawthorn Farm grounds, unless the damage or loss is caused by the negligence of Hawthorn Farm Cottages owners or employees.

Personal safety

It is the responsibility of the lead guest to keep all the guests in their party safe.

All cottages have a smoke alarm, powder fire extinguisher, fire blanket and first aid kit which you should make sure to locate on arrival. Please let us know of anything that you have used and that will need to be replaced before the next guests arrive.

Please do not light any candles or ignite any flames inside the cottage as these create a fire hazard and may invalidate our insurance.

If you feel that any of the furniture, equipment or facilities in the cottage are unsafe in any way, please inform us immediately so we can rectify the problem.

Please note that there is a part-fenced pond within the owners private garden, and there are two donkeys in the Farm's fenced off paddock, so young children will need to be supervised whenever in the vicinity of the livestock or the pond.

The donkeys

We always make sure we feed our donkeys with the right foods to ensure they stay healthy. Donkey nutrition varies from animal to animal depending on their age and health requirements. In their natural habitat donkeys will graze, eating highly fibrous plant material in small quantities throughout the day. The donkeys at Hawthorn Farm have access to restricted "strip" grazing using electric fencing, which prevents them from over-eating and becoming overweight.

Donkeys do not need high levels of sugar in their diets and should not be given any sugary treats. Although it may be tempting, please DO NOT feed the donkeys unless the owners give you something to feed to them. Even grass clippings must not be fed to the donkeys as it can lead to colic, which is a very distressing and potentially fatal condition.

Losses and damages

We trust that you will endeavour to take good care of the property during your stay. Any losses or damages to the holiday cottages and/or their contents incurred by a member of your party during your holiday must be paid for. Before you arrive the cottage will have been thoroughly checked, cleaned and prepared. If you find any discrepancies with the state of the cottage please notify us as soon as possible and certainly within 24 hours of your arrival. Any losses or damages caused after this will be deemed your responsibility. It may therefore be worth checking with your holiday insurance company whether they will cover you in these circumstances. If a loss or damage does occur while you are staying at Hawthorn Farm Cottages, please inform us as soon as possible to agree the level of charges to be paid/deducted from your security deposit.

Complaints

Whilst we make every effort to ensure that you have an enjoyable holiday at Hawthorn Farm, things can from time to time go wrong. In the rare event that you discover a defect or a breakdown in your cottage, or if you're unhappy with any other aspect of your holiday, then please notify us immediately. This will enable us to make an on-the-spot investigation if necessary, and can take remedial action if needed. Under no circumstances will we be able compensate for complaints raised after the end of your holiday at Hawthorn Farm Cottages, or if you deny us the opportunity to investigate the complaint and endeavour to put things right during your holiday.

If you are unhappy with way any problem has been handled/resolved, then you must put a complaint to us in writing within 30 days of the end of your holiday. We will then attempt to resolve the outstanding complaint without prejudice.

Confidentiality

In order to process your booking, we will need you to provide certain information about yourself and the guests in your party. We may use names, addresses and email addresses for sending you future promotional or marketing literature, however we guarantee that any information will remain confidential to us and is protected under the Data Protection Act 1998. Any personal information and details collected by us will not be passed on to a third party unless it is to one of our representatives in relation to looking after your specific holiday booking.

Smoking

Please note that in accordance with current legislation, smoking is not permitted in any of our cottages. If you or any member of your party would like to smoke outside, you should use the ashtrays provided, as carelessness with cigarettes can cause considerable damage, particularly during the dry summer months.

Noise

We want you to enjoy your holiday and to feel at home, however we ask that you respect the right of other holidaymakers to peace and quiet, as they may well have come to Hawthorn Farm for some R&R! Therefore we ask that you avoid making any potential disturbances, including playing loud music or watching TV with the volume turned up high, between the hours of 11pm and 9am.

Special occasions

We are of course delighted that you have chosen to have your holiday at Hawthorn Farm, particularly if it coincides with a special occasion. However, please be aware that no party, event or gathering may take place at Hawthorn Farm which exceeds the maximum agreed occupancy numbers for the cottage you have booked - unless you have our prior consent in writing. It is also not permitted for any commercial enterprise or supplier (such as a caterer, a children's entertainer, or beauty therapist)  to visit/supply their services at Hawthorn Farm without our express written consent.  It is also not permitted for any alcohol to be sold on the premises without permission. Should any of these terms be breached, we have the right to ask you to leave without any compensation or refund due to you or your party.

Acts of God

Both we and the holidaymakers will not be liable for our respective obligations under this agreement in circumstances amounting to Acts of God. An Act of God means any unusual and unforeseeable events beyond our control, including but not restricted to war, threat of war, civil strife, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, epidemics, terrorist activity, governmental action, acts of God. Holidaymakers and Hawthorn Farm Cottages shall only be able to rely on Acts of God after taking all practical steps to remedy the cause of Acts of God.

Law

The contract between you and Hawthorn Farm Cottages is governed by English Law. Any dispute you have with us shall be dealt with in an English or Welsh Court of Law. Your statutory rights are not affected by anything contained within these booking conditions.

Feedback and reviews

We would be grateful if you would complete a short questionnaire at the end of your holiday about the specifics of your cottage and your stay. This feedback is invaluable to us as it helps us to keep improving on our standards, and to hopefully keep our guests coming back time and time again! Likewise, we'd appreciate it if you could leave a review for potential future guests of Hawthorn Farm to read (and hopefully to encourage them to stay!) either on TripAdvisor, or on Google Maps.